The Delhi High Court has sought the stand of the Delhi Government and the Excise Commissioner on a fresh petition challenging the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021, related to granting of licence for home delivery of liquor.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on Monday issued notice on a petition filed by BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma and listed the matter for further hearing on September 20.
Filed through Advocates Balaji Srinivasan and Pallavi Sengupta, the plea challenged Rule 66(6) of the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021, which has introduced a scheme of licensing for home delivery of Indian and foreign-made liquors through mobile applications or websites. The 2021 Amendment Rules, dated May 25, 2021, which were notified by the Delhi Government on May 31, 2021, amended the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010.
The plea alleged that the Rule was inconsistent with the Delhi Excise Act, 2009, which criminalised consumption of liquor in public places. It further alleged that ‘home delivery’ of liquor would encourage increased alcohol consumption and lead to an increase in domestic violence cases against women, children and vulnerable sections.
The plea sought quashing of Rule 66(6) of the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021; and a direction calling for the records with respect to the said Rule. “The Rule violates the most critical national policy and is in complete disregard of Article 47 of the Constitution of India that casts a duty on the Respondent (Delhi Government) to improve public health by inter alia reducing the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious, dangerous, harmful to health.
The Bench, on the last date of hearing, refused to issue notice in the petition for impleading the Aam Aadmi Party in the array of parties and granted time to Mr Srinivasan to file an amended memo of parties. In a batch of similar petitions challenging the New Excise Policy formulated by the Delhi Government for 2021-2022, the Bench deferred hearing to August 27, as the response filed by the Delhi Government was not on record.
The petitions are filed by Ashiana Towers & Promoters Ltd and Readymade Plaza India Pvt Ltd, among others, who claim to be retail liquor vendors running business in Delhi since past more than 15 years under valid licences issued by the Excise Commissioner under the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010.